They’re Public Servants—Doesn’t That Mean They Should Listen to the Public?

August 30, 2011
Category: Uncategorized

silencedWhy are some of your legislators refusing emails from you—and what are we doing about it?


What does it tell us when our elected officials seal themselves up in Washington and refuse to take emails from the people who elected them?

No, we’re not making this up. Nor is it just an isolated case here and there. A surprising number of senators and representatives refuse to listen to American citizens by making it extremely difficult for them to provide public comments. So much for the democratic process!

We believe citizens should have the right to quickly, simply, and easily contact Congress to make their voices and opinions heard. But certain legislators refuse to accept email messages submitted by third parties like ANH-USA or other nonprofit advocacy groups. Instead, they set up complicated web forms as a way to discourage comment.

Here are the offenders, in alphabetical order:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX, District 6)
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL, District 13)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA, District 44)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA, District 2)
Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-CA, District 49)
Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-NC, District 3)
Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-FL, District 14)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA, District 22)
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Rep. Devin G. Nunes (R-CA, District 21)
Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ, District 5)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX, District 32)
Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL)


Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) was on that list, but after we contacted him about the issue, he is now accepting our alerts. We thank him, and applaud his willingness to listen to his constituents.

In addition to the above elected officials, Regulations.gov, the website used by federal agencies to receive comments on proposed rules, guidance, etc., changed its interface last year to ensure that third-party organizations like ANH-USA could not supply comments from our members and readers. Every time our software company would fix the issue, Regulations.gov would change their interface again. After speaking with Regulations.gov directly, they admitted that they didn’t want to receive comments from third-party websites.

Readers, rest assured that we’ve been mailing in your comments so they’re received by the agencies—whether they like it or not!

Please phone your elected officials today and tell them to remove obstacles to democratic participation! Our Call-In Action Alert lets you look up your legislators’ phone numbers, and gives you guidelines and a script outline you can refer to when you call. Or, if you prefer, go to the legislator’s website and send in a message using their form. But don’t be surprised if it isn’t possible to send in any message you want. Some of the forms require that you comment on a specified list of topics—another barrier to free communication.

Even if your elected officials are not on the list, you can still participate. Please phone Regulations.gov at 1-877-378-5457 and tell them you want your voice to be heard! You can use the same Action Alert—you won’t need to adapt the talking points very much to tailor them for a government agency instead of a legislator’s office.

Refuse to be silenced!

26 responses to “They’re Public Servants—Doesn’t That Mean They Should Listen to the Public?”

  1. Dorieta Rogers says:

    I called the number given in your website to lodge a complaint about legislators refusing to accept petitions etc. from nonprofits etc. where citizens band together for the greater good. The person who answered the phone was a guy (nice) who works on the website so it does the very things you were talking about. He said that was his job he was not a decision maker.
    I then tried the part of the website that was to give me the numbers of my legislators in Congress and I received the message that there were none for that address. We both know that is a mistake.

  2. The so-called government does not have the required authority, which is from the people, to make laws or enforce them. Look at the website,

  3. carmen says:

    The republicans do not want to receive e-mails from the constituents because they know we the people do not agree with their actions and they do not want to hear them;; the republicans are in the rich peoples pockets and they could care less about america or americans…as far as they are concerned we do not exist and we better vote them out on the next election

  4. Carolyn Peterson says:

    THANK YOU for your continuing persistence! I am so happy to have found your website and share it on a daily basis with more and more concerned citizens. Keep up the Great Work!
    Carolyn Peterson

  5. Susie Cassens says:

    The Supreme Court voted that organizations are considered people correct???Oh yeah, I forgot that’s only when they want your money:(:(:(

    • Susie Cassens says:

      Meaning the politicians are not interested in your organization unless campaign money is involved…just saying!

  6. A. Werewulff says:

    Rep Raymond Cravaack should have been on that list.
    I had trouble submitting a message through the ANH system and when I tried to send the message though his web-form it would only accept 6 lines. I brought to his attention that I was becoming more angry as he tries to make it more difficult for me to contact him through the advocacy group of my choice.
    I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper and the following week’s paper had a very poorly written response from one of his supporters claiming that after seeing my letter he wrote a ‘multii-paragraph’ letter and got a response within an hour. (From the look of his letter to the editor, I don’t think he knows what a paragraph is)
    That was a week after my letter to the editor; and now a month later I still have not gotten my response from Cravaack’s office. Apparently his ‘lieutenant’s’ reply to the local paper was the official response; typical tea party BS, switch the subject, insult my character, and call me names. I laughed as I read it was so stupid and I could see no reason to reply as people that know better will know. However just to be sure, I may send this article to the paper.
    “This is my small circle that I’m standing inside. You’re welcome to come in there, but if you start f*cking with it, you gotta get out!” -Johnny Depp. Captain Jack Sparrow

  7. Michael Nissen says:

    We are in trouble that was caused by the very people we have elected. Why can’t we the electorate reason out that if they caused the problem, they need to be taken out of those postitions. All they do is keep feathering their nests. All we get for the taxes we pay is more gov, employees. We get no service. We need to vote out all current office holders regardless of party and get new and honest blood in office that won’t make it a career. They may see the way to reduce gov. and get back to serving the public.

  8. Beth (Beverly) says:

    You didn’t get Ron Wyden from OR on your list. I have his government email address, but every email I send to him immediately gets return with the notice that “his box is full” and he is not reciving any more mail.

  9. Beth (Beverly) says:

    You didn’t get Ron Wyden from OR on your list. I have his government email address, but every email I send to him immediately gets return with the notice that “his box is full” and he is not reciving any more mail.

  10. Beth (Beverly) says:

    You didn’t get Ron Wyden from OR on your list. I have his government email address, but every email I send to him immediately gets return with the notice that “his box is full” and he is not reciving any more mail.

  11. Beth (Beverly) says:

    You didn’t get Ron Wyden from OR on your list. I have his government email address, but every email I send to him immediately gets return with the notice that “his box is full” and he is not reciving any more mail.

  12. Beth (Beverly) says:

    You didn’t get Ron Wyden from OR on your list. I have his government email address, but every email I send to him immediately gets return with the notice that “his box is full” and he is not reciving any more mail.

  13. Beth (Beverly) says:

    You didn’t get Ron Wyden from OR on your list. I have his government email address, but every email I send to him immediately gets return with the notice that “his box is full” and he is not reciving any more mail.

  14. Linda N says:

    When I run into this, (and I have not with my reps yet or senators, but a few times links would not work) I simply copy the ANH message, and paste it into the reps web form. I have also used my computer fax to fax messages to reps who are not from my state but who have sponsored certain legislation that will affect us all. Most web forms will not accept messages from citizens who are from their districts but they do list fax numbers on their sites or you can usually them with a web search.

  15. Denise Ward says:

    Notice that they’re all Republicans? I wonder what is wrong with Republicans sometimes because they ever seem to count their winnings, it’s like they can never find satisfaction. They must e really unhappy on the inside, or maybe they need to take more fiber in their diet! They make life for everyone so darn troublesome. We could be achieving such great things as a country a lot sooner if we didn’t have to constantly be wrestling in the mud with them.

  16. Jennifer says:

    You can submit comments on bills and legislation through OpenCongress.org as well. I’ve had great success with this. Fortunately all my Reps and Senators accept emails, and respond to every one I send.

  17. Anne says:

    You left out Rep. Moran of VA who is a Democrat. He refuses to accept emails. At least I have received an email from him that was his newsletter that said specifically that he did not accept emails from the public. I am sorry I didn’t keep it. So I can’t provide it.
    Also Sen Warner requires that you provide which one of his list of subjects the email has, and he requires that you provide a title. That last is ridiculous, and the first is not very helpful since it is sometimes diffcult to tell which subject is the best choice.

  18. Peter Veits says:

    You forgot Rep. John Kline, MN District 2

  19. Meghan Baker says:

    Rep. Issa’s system is particularly annoying. Even if they accept mail from a third party, one must then enter a captcha. My problem is not with the idea behind the captcha itself (if we care enough to push a few buttons a couple of funny letters shouldn’t be an issue…), rather, that the page only loads properly half the time! As a member of the VOTING PUBLIC, that is a slap in the face!! I think perhaps he’s forgotten the reason he has a job!

  20. Deborah Stucklen says:

    I am alarmed that corporations have been allowed by the Supreme Court to buy elections by donating all the money they want to select candidates with no accountability, while middle class and poor Americans can’t even count on having their elected officials read their emails. Comments should not be silenced just because the legislator dislikes the commenter’s viewpoint.

  21. Suzanne Conner says:

    I have also had problems with Sen. Saxby Chamblis (R) GA receiving comments by email. He makes it difficult to leave email because you have to give all kinds of info and type in many things and codes before you can leave a message. Last time I sent something it was better. I did complain to his office about it.
    It should also be noticed that some of the RepubliCONS have started charging admission to their “open” town meetings.

  22. Judy Zitko says:

    We can let the Republicans know how we feel about their anti-constituent stances as of late by voting them out of office in 2012. I truly pray that they have not totally destroyed our economy by then with their “taking of hostages” method of getting what they want. The only constituents they listen to these days are their rich campaign contributors.

  23. serve the public please that’s what it’s called: “public service”!

  24. Gary Scherf says:

    The best way “to remove obstacles to democratic participation” is to remove those who creating those obstacles. They call themselves Democates and Republicans. Remove them and you will see the change you are looking for. Keep doing the same thing and you will keep getting the same results. Never vote for someone already in office. Its the only way. Pass it on.

  25. Ken Lucas says:

    tax the corp billionairs ceos repay all bonous last 10 years multy national corps as domastoc put millions back to work rebuild bridges highways streets water systems & rail roads medical system covered by gov & emplyers of over 100 cut big gov saleries and benifets by 20%+

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